Deep Cleaning a Heavily Soiled Limestone Patio

This patio, at a house in Windermere was made of fantastic Green Indian Limestone that despite sounding exotic is widely available in tile shops and building yards. But while it is a very good quality stone, it doesn’t always make for a good patio tile. Tiled patios are rarely easy to keep clean, especially if they are made of a sensitive stone, like Limestone. Over time, damage from weather and other environmental elements can leave these sorts of patios in really poor shape.

Indian limestone patio Windermere before cleaning

The area at this property was covered in outdoor shrubs and trees, including Rhododendrons, which are prone to shedding their leaves. The leaves had intermittently fallen onto the acid-sensitive Limestone and, since the leaves are actually slightly acidic, they can leave some quite deep marks. Other trees with can have acidic leaves include Japanese Maples and Azaleas. In this case, fruit berries from Rowan trees had also dropped onto the patio and crushed underfoot, leaving stains they had proven very difficult for the customer to remove.

Indian limestone patio Windermere before cleaning

In fact, the customer was at the point of giving up on the patio. Power washing was having limited success, failing to remove the deeply embedded marks left by the leaves and berries, amongst other general wear and tear. Thus the customer decided to turn to Tile Doctor for a professional cleaning service.

Cleaning a Stained Indian Limestone Patio

A year ago, this job would have been a challenge, but Tile Doctor recently bought out a product called Oxy Gel that proved to be an excellent cleaning product in this particular situation. Oxy Gel is a heavily concentrated alkaline cleaner in a gel form so it’s easy to handle. I applied this to the Limestone and left it to dwell for about 20-30 minutes to neutralise the acidic staining, before power washing and extracting the waste water.

A certain amount of manual cleaning with a wire brush was required to remove the particularly stubborn marks, including underneath the Rowan trees where the fruit berries were prevalent. As you can see, the problem was quite excessive in these areas, and without the Oxy Gel even we would have found this job too much of a challenge. We also removed the dirty cleaning water containing the remains of the Oxy Gel using a wet vacuum, as this may otherwise have contaminated the garden soil.

Indian limestone patio Windermere after cleaning

We didn’t seal the patio, as we don’t recommend sealing outdoor stone (although we will occasionally make an expectation with particularly sensitive Black Limestone). This is because external sealers generally can’t cope with exposure to acidic leaves and constant wet weather in the winter. What’s more, if the temperature falls below -5 degrees centigrade, the sealer will start to break up and crumble. As I suggested to the customer, it’s best to power wash patio tiles twice a year – once in spring and once again in late summer.

Indian limestone patio Windermere after cleaning

The results were absolutely fantastic considering the extent of the environmental damage. While such damages can’t always be avoided, this situation proves that with the right cleaning products and techniques, they can be reduced significantly. Needless to say, the customer was very happy with the transformation.
 
 
Source: Limestone Tile and Grout Cleaning and Mainteanance Service in Cumbria

Resolving Sealing Problems With a Limestone Patio

This Limestone patio had been poorly sealed, resulting in a lack of protection from weather and the general wear and tear of nature. As such, the patio was in need of a thorough clean, and any remaining sealer stripped off and replaced. In addition, the pointing between the Limestone tiles was crumbling, and in places the stone was marked by oil spots. The patio was installed at a house in Ipswich, Suffolk which incidentally is considered to be one of, if not the oldest town in England. I knew the Limestone tiles would be difficult to clean, especially after being exposed to dirt and wear for so long so I figured this would take some time to resolve.

Limestone patio before renovation in Ipswich Limestone patio before renovation in Ipswich

Removing tough stains and dirt from a Limestone patio

My first step was to give the patio an initial rinse with clean water in order to remove any loose debris. Following this, I mixed up an equal cleaning solution of Tile Doctor Pro Clean and NanoTech HBU. Pro-Clean is a versatile, high alkaline cleaner which can be used on a variety of natural stone floors, whilst NanoTech HBU (formerly known as Ultra Clean) is specifically designed to tackle the heavy build-up of dirt and stains. It does this by using nano-sized particles to penetrate beneath tough stains to dissolve and lift them out.

As you can see from the photographs, the combination of the two cleaning products was highly effective. After completing the cleaning, I left the house for two days to allow plentiful time for the patio to dry completely, and therefore ready to be sealed.

Sealing a Limestone Patio with Stone Oil

Fortunately the weather held and I was able to call in as planned and applied Tile Doctor Stone Oil, an easy-to-apply product that adds colour to the stone. I left the floor for a further two days and then returned again to protect the Limestone using a couple of coats of Tile Doctor Ultra Seal.

After cleaning and sealing the patio, my final task was to deal with the pointing issue. I replaced any missing pointing and fixed the loose pieces, before colouring the grout using a dark colourant to provide uniformity. This was difficult, but highly rewarding work, as the patio now looks bold and inviting.

Limestone patio after renovation in Ipswich

My customer was certainly pleased with my work, and left the following comment on the Tile Doctor feedback system:

“I couldn’t have been more pleased with the service I received from Bruce Copping. He communicated well, was reliable and managed to breathe life back into my very unattractive limestone garden patio that had been excruciating badly sealed by my original contractors…The whole area, which is around 30ft square, now looks fantastic.”

Limestone patio after renovation in Ipswich

 
 
Source: Professional Tile, Stone and Grout cleaning services in Suffolk

Changing the Sealer on Limestone Patio Tiles

Details below of a Limestone patio I was asked to clean at a property in the affluent neighbourhood of Alderly Edge, Cheshire, famous for being the home of choice for several Premier League footballers. In fact Alderly Edge, which lies not too far south of Manchester and is one of the most sought after places to live in the UK. My client was unhappy with the look of the patio had previously been sealed using a topical sealer, and this had left the tiles looking dull and lifeless.

Limestone Patio Before Cleaning Alderly Edge Limestone Patio Before Cleaning Alderly Edge

Limestone is a fantastic natural stone, popularly used for internal floors as well as patios, it comes in a variety of fantastic colours and shades. What my client really wanted for the patio was a wet look to bring out the character of the Limestone. So, my job was to strip the old sealer off and replace it will one that would achieve the desired finish.

Stripping off the old sealer

To strip the old sealer from the patio, I used a series of fine diamond encrusted burnishing pads which are applied in order from Coarse, Medium, Fine and then Super Fine. The coarse pad is effective at stripping off sealer without damaging the tile, and without the need to use a liquid product. The finer burnishing pads then rebuild the appearance of the Limestone to provide a nice deep shine.

Applying Sealer to a Limestone Patio

The new sealer of choice was Tile Doctor Colour Grow, which can be used on both internal and external natural stone surfaces. Colour Grow is an impregnating sealer which penetrates deep into the pores of the stone, providing both long-lasting resistance and durable protection against ingrained dirt and stains. As you can see from the photos, Colour Grow is also specially formulated to intensify the natural colours in the stone, and it really helped to bring the Limestone back to life again.

Limestone Patio After Cleaning Alderly Edge Limestone Patio After Cleaning Alderly Edge

The finished job left this patio with the wet, polished look my client had requested. She was very pleased with the result and amazed by just how quickly such a marked difference could be made. Another happy client!
 
 
Source: Professional Tile, Stone and Grout cleaning services in North-Cheshire